One in four small firms are expected to up their job count this year, but one in 10 expect head count to fall, the first quarterly 2013 Jobs Sentiment Survey by the Small Firms Association has found.
SFA director Avine McNally stated: “The recent figures from the CSO Household Survey show that there is stabilisation in the labour market and more encouragingly, employment increased in the private sector in 2012.
“This survey shows that almost one in four (24%) hope to increase employee numbers in 2013, while over the next three months 12% will be recruiting permanent positions.”
“While the figures are positive, 11% of firms will reduce employee numbers in 2013 as business costs and weak consumer demand remain challenges.”
A total of 607 companies, employing 16,542 people in manufacturing, distribution, retail and services sectors, were surveyed in February by the SFA and it emerged that in firms where employee numbers increased in 2012, 41% of companies expect a further rise in employee numbers, while 16% of those firms that cut their employee figures in 2012 expect further reductions.
Ms McNally said: “Although stabilising, there are still job losses occurring in the labour intensive sectors — mainly construction and manufacturing.
“However, other sectors, such as services and hospitality, are showing signs of recovery and while this will generate employment, this job creation may be fragile until there is a restoration of costs and greater confidence restored to the economy.”
The survey shows the level of layoffs and reduction in staff hours has slowed, which Ms McNally said may be a reflection of the actions taken by firms to reduce costs and retain employment.
“If Government and agencies are forthright in their ambition to create jobs then they must do everything to reduce the cost of employment in 2013.”
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